Diet is a 4-Letter Word

The psychology of eating

You’ve Got Questions, I’ve Got Answers!

Answers to reader questions stemming from my Sleeping Beauty post. Read More

That was great, thanks! That

That was great, thanks! That makes way more sense than the simplistic nonsense I've seen people prattling off. I've even been told that to lose weight, I have to eat MORE and then exercise it off, with complete disregard to the number of calories currently consumed, and the fact that it takes a LOT of exercise to burn anything. You can eat a thousand calories in a few bites of cheesecake, and you'd have to spend half the day exercising to get rid of it.

So in light of all this, what was up with the studies a few years back that were saying that animals on "calorie restricted" diets were healthier and lived longer? Wouldn't that just be "animals with chronic compromised metabolism"?

calorie restriction

Hi there!

Glad that helped answered your questions. Calorie restriction is still pretty controversial, especially in humans. That said, the studies suggest that life extension benefits come from eating 5-10% fewer calories per day (so nothing excessive) while getting daily exercise (to counteract the metabolism slow down). In addition, they are comparing them to 'typical' overweight Americans. Bottom line: if you like eating a little bit less than you need and exercising everyday, go for it. Will it help you live longer than the average American? Definitely. But so will eating your required calories and exercising ...

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Mary E. Pritchard, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Boise State University.

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